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Lancaster County Community Foundation awards 20 business, nonprofit grants

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Twenty Lancaster County groups that benefit residents of the county will receive more than $800,000 in grant money from a local foundation.

The Lancaster County Community Foundation announced $810,000 in grant investments this week as part of its “Ah-Ha Project: Creative Solutions to Real Problems,” to support programs such as affordable housing, access to health and dental care, services for at-risk students and support for the local bilingual workforce.

The grants are broken into four categories: a creative solutions matching fund, a social enterprise fund, a seed fund and a long-term creative solutions fund. Each fund has its own qualifications and requirements for dispensing grant money.

Among the grants:

• The Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board received the largest individual grant at $100,000 to help former prisoners re-enter the workforce. The grant, on behalf of the Lancaster County Reentry Management Organization, will help provide job skills training, case management and job placement services for ex-prisoners.

• The Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership received $80,000 to aid in the creation of a new affordable housing loan program. The program will acquire, rehabilitate and resell blighted properties, develop mixed-use buildings to provide upstairs rental apartments, provide first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance and establish housing programs to end homelessness. A portion of the program will be devoted to Lancaster and Columbia.

• The Lancaster County Council of Churches also received $80,000 to help create a sustainable food hub to increase healthy food distributed to economically disadvantaged Lancaster and Columbia residents.

• The Community First Fund in Lancaster received $60,000 for its new federally funded New Markets Tax Credits program it started in April, and it is one of only 85 organizations in the country that is part of the national program. It helps develop community health care facilities, charter schools for low-income students, grocery stores in neighborhoods and downtown businesses.

Read a full list of the grant recipients here.

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